7 Week Ultrasound/ How Many Babies???

We are already 7 weeks!!!??? That’s awesome!!! We had to wait three weeks from the time we found out we we’re pregnant, and now we’re considered seven weeks along! I love it! Once the embryo transfer was done, we were considered two weeks along.

We decided to have Destynee go with us to the ultrasound, so she could see what we were talking about. She has been so excited about getting a lil’ brother or sister. I called Alice to make sure she was okay with her coming.

As we all anxiously waited in the room for the doctor, I started to wonder how I would feel if there was only one. With all the time, effort, energy, money & emotions put into the whole process, we were really looking forward to twins. It felt like we deserved it. (I know that sounds ungrateful, but I’m being honest.)

Here comes the vaginal ultrasound, cuz we were only seven weeks. Poor baby mamma 😦 As the doctor searched around for the anticipated result, all of our hearts were beating out of our chest…….. Finally…. we heard a heart beat!!! We all just sat there in bliss, listening to such a sweet sound. Before I could even explain to my three year old what was going on, the precious sound was gone…….I think we all stopped breathing for a second.
The picture was still on, but the sound had been turned off. (I think because they don’t want to disturb such a tiny fetus.)

There it was, a picture of ONE healthy baby!!! It looked more like a fuzzy peanut. The doctor searched for a second…….There was only one.
I was kinda confused. It didn’t make sense??? I was so sure we would have twins… Everyone was so sure…

Freezing Embryos/Will They Survive?

We had the option to freeze any embryos that survived past 5 days. That way, if the embryos that were implanted in our surrogate mother did not attach and survive, we would have most of the steps done and it would be considerably less money to implant her again. It is another $1,000 to freeze them, but was much less than the $38,000 that we had already fronted.

We knew that three were implanted into Alice, so there were two more we could possibly freeze.

Unfortunately, I got a call from the lab two days after the embryo transfer,…….both of our extra embryos had died………. 😦 😦 😦

The Embryo Transfer!!!/We made it!!!

(I knew that there was still a chance that none of the embryos would attach and survive, and that if they didn’t, the 7 month long, excruciating process and 40k would be lost…..)

The room we were in had a big screen TV in it, and in the next room were our little want-to-be-babies. The tech magnified what was going on in the next room, and they had it up on the screen so we could see. As he syringed each embryo up, along with the fluid they were in, I had butterflies throughout my body and wanted to scream with excitement!!! Calmly, I watch as he brought them into the doctor, and the doctor transferred my three little embryos to the warm, loving environment that had been carefully prepared just for them, our surrogate mother’s uterus.

We had finally made it to this point, and now had a two-week wait to anticipate whether we would get to continue on this miraculous journey.

Two or Three???

God had assisted us up to this point, and we knew that it would take a greater power to take over the process from here. I wanted to implant three embryos, so that our chances of having at least one baby survive would be more likely. Putting in three embryos, didn’t mean that three would take. We were planning on implanting two, and planning for two babies surviving. I was afraid with three that I wouldn’t be able to be there for the babies like I wanted to. And even more scared that I couldn’t physically take care of three babies.

I also knew that I would willingly and ecsatically accept one, two, or three beautiful babies with a smile on my face, and that God wouldn’t give me more than I could handle. If all three did attach and survive, we were all four willing to do what it took for their safety.

The four of us discussed, and Dan and Alice assured me with details of scenarios, of what could happen, and what they would be willing to do if each happened. Dan jokingly said, “If you guyz have three, you can just give us one!”

A peace came over the room and over Alice, Dan, & me. I started becoming more clear, and felt like God was guiding us all. We had made a decision and I felt good and at peace with it.

WE CHOSE TO IMPLANT THREE LITTLE EMBRYOS!!!

Another Decision???/Dan To The Rescue!

January 25th, 2010 The Embryo Transfer!!!

Alice asked me if I wanted to be there during the embryo transfer. I was thrilled!!!

She obviously wanted her hubby there, so they met me at the clinic. There weren’t anymore decisions to be made, so Gordon went to work. I didn’t think I would need him, and he wouldn’t be in the room anyway………….Or so I thought…..

The doctors had been telling us throughout the 7 months of trying, that they would only implant two embryos at the most. We wanted twins and Alice was ready to carry twins, she’s an expert on that, hehe:)

When we got there, the doctor came in and told us that because the embryos were just barely below normal in quality, we had the choice to transfer three embryos…..What the heck! We had already discussed in detail our options and made the big decision, and now things felt out of control all over again. I called Gordon, but he seemed to be in the same overwhelming dilemma. He knew we were on the same page, so he trusted my decision….I didn’t want to make the decision:(
I felt numb…………. I didn’t want to deal with anything else.

So many risks and unknowns. Would three take? Would they be early or full-term? I had the experience of the NICU before, and just wanted to experience the normal, stay-at-home, in bed, enjoying my baby/babies for two weeks like everyone I had seen. I wanted to be able to actually hold my baby…
Would Alice have to go on bedrest, and not be there for her girls? Could my heart handle three, I didn’t want to take on more than I could handle and enjoy…………….

There was so much loudness in my head, I wanted to run away and cancel the whole thing. I had been on so many hormone drugs, I didn’t feel stable or sane at all. I really didn’t feel like I could make anymore decisions.

We sat in the small, dark room, waiting for an answer. I had a thousand swords flying my way. As I stared off in a blank, Dan and Alice started talking about it. They were wondering what the answer would be, and at the time same being very supportive.

Holding back the tears, I started telling them my concerns and fears, cuz it was again a decision all four of us needed to make. I couldn’t think straight and was mumbling. I couldn’t seem to comprehend anything…..

Dan stood up and very assertively encouraged us to discussed all the facts, details, risks, thoughts, and feelings of all four of us. He completely saved my ass. It was like the “Incredibles”, when Helena grabs elastigirl and says, “pull yourself together”, but in the most loving, caring, gentle way.

It was like he took all my confusion and made sense of it. Thank you, Dan!

Options/Statistics/Percentages

From the beginning of the invitro-surrogate process, the doctors told about all the percentages and statistics of what anyone’s chances would be.

They gave us a 60% chance that our surrogate mother would get pregnant. If she did get pregnant, the chance of how the pregnancy went and if the baby/babies survived were the same as for any pregnancy. 60% seemed pretty high to me, but I also understood that it was up to God and it would take His miracle to allow it to happen.

They explained that we could either implant one or two embryos. They stressed that no more than two could be implanted, because of Alice’s healthy, fertile age and the risk of multiple babies. Both could attached or one or both of the two could split, and we could have three or four babies, but the chances were very small for more than twins. They explained that we had the option of reduction if more attached and survived than we wanted. I couldn’t believe that this was a normal routine, like a fart in the wind to some people. To Gordon and I, and lucky Dan and Alice as well, this was considered abortion. We all felt that which ever embryos survived and attached, were God’s gifts to us, and we would not be a part in trying to control their fate.

They gave us a 30% chance of twins if two were implanted. I again thought those were good odds. We had decided early on, that Gordon and I very badly wanted twins and Alice was willing to carry them and do whatever it took to keep them safe and healthy. We were all very excited about the chance of twins. Going through all this hard work and effort, and then getting two out of it!!! That would be such an exciting surprise!

Our Little Embryos/Should They Have a Name?

Now that my eggs and Gordon’s sperm had been mixed together, our little stuff, became embryos. The embryos stayed in the IVF lab for a few more days to see which ones would be the healthiest and strongest. It sounds silly, but it felt like we had left our babies with total strangers, not knowing what was exactly going on with them. It was weird, I didn’t know how to feel or what to think about it…???

The embryo transfer happens 3-5 days after the retrieval, depending on how well they are doing and how fast fertilization occurs.

Two days later, I got a call from the lab where our little embryos were. The tech had been keeping in touch with the infertility doctors. They decided that the embryo transfer needed to happen the next day, because the embryos were becoming more fragile every day. They would pick the best two out of the five to implant.

What did that mean? Were they going to survive?
I tried very hard not to let my mind control me again.

Here We Go, Ready Or Not…

“We only need ONE to survive, babe” were the sweet words of my husband. I repeated those few words through my head like a skipped CD. I continued to focus on God, faith, peace, and love. If these were the eggs that might create my baby/babies, I wanted them to know how much I loved and appreciated them…..I wanted it to be a beautiful environment for their (the embryos) inception.

The decision had been made. What a relief and yet so final….

The same day of the last ultrasound, I took a Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG) injection at 9:00 that night. HCG induces/triggers ovulation.
The hCG trigger has several functions:

*Induce final maturation of the eggs
*Cause the resumption of meiosis
*Loosen the egg’s attachment from the follicle wall
*Allows for the timing of the egg retrieval

The goal is to perform the egg retrieval as close as possible to 36 hours after the hCG trigger is given. This meant for me that the egg retrieval would be two days later, 9:00 in the morning. Timing is everything, and so important.

Here we go, ready or not!!!

Please Let The Third Time Be The Charm?!?!?

Third week of injections, and again the dreaded vaginal ultrasound….

The first ultrasound showed no response..I was devastated.. The doctor reassured me that they had done the ultrasound earlier than normal to watch for signs of overstimulation with the new medication. I was relieved, but the knot in my stomach wouldn’t go away…

The next ultrasound, I had three good eggs (follicles), and several with good potential…Because this was the final try, I didn’t seem to stress as much. I focused on putting it ALL in God’s hand. I tried to be okay with not getting pregnant at all. It took alot of effort, and wasn’t easy. It took a constant reminder, on my part, to stay peaceful………….

The next day, the ultrasound showed two more, and the biggest eggs had a little room to still be in the safe range. It started feeling like a repeated, bad dream. Very familiar……..I again focused on remaining calm and peaceful.

The anticipation was grualling…Breathe Jess, breathe……

The fourth day, the three biggest eggs were reaching the point of no return………Two more eggs barely made it within the acceptable range. I had seven large eggs…Today was the deciding day, because one more day would cause the three biggest eggs to become not viable (not usable)……………

It was now time to test my estrogen levels to see how many eggs were actually mature……….Labs again and we were sent home to wait for the word……………………………………………….

1,433 was my Estradiol (estrogen) count and the second important number of the day. This meant that if the minimum of 200 were in each egg, then there could be seven mature eggs! If any of the eggs had more in them, then as few as three egg could be mature……..Quite a wide range…How could we ever know?………

Every day felt like a decade…….

Synchronizing Cycles/Important Medications/Inch and a Half Long Needles!

With the help of the birth control, Alice and my cycles were synchronized. (I guess it is good for something, lol)

The doctors put us back on Lupron shots, which shut off the connection from our brains to our ovaries. This way, the professionals could completely control our hormones without interference from the normal process of the body.

She was also put back on Progesterone injections. Progesterone is one of the reproductive hormones normally produced by the ovary after ovulation. It is needed to prepare the endometrium (uterus) for implantation of an embryo.

I forgot to mention earlier, that the Progesterone shots were not the little needles that we used for the lupron shots. Through the two previous cycles and for three weeks, Alice had Progesterone shots every day. She had to use one and a half-inch long needles and have her husband stick it in her glute muscle. Ya, you guess it! Right in her ASS!!! And then, if that’s not bad enough, he had to pull back the needle to make sure it wasn’t in a vein. If it was, he had to pull it out, and do it again. The medication has to go into the muscle, not a vein. Inch and a half, holy hell! That’s freaky!

Here she was giving it a third try for us. Another three weeks!

She told me that through the previous cycle, she had a few times where she almost passed out while her husband was giving her the shot!!!!!!!

Along with the Lupron shots, I started back on Follistim shots. Two simple belly shots, compared to Alice. The Follistim is a follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), the hormone that stimulates the ovaries.
The new super-boost injections that the doctors put me on was called Ganirelix Acetate. It also stimulates the ovaries, while preventing eggs from being released prematurely.

I made up my mind that I could push through one more cycle, and would give it all I had.